What do You Value?

In a recent study of the goals and values of college students, researchers concluded that there were twelve dimensions of student development. 

But these developmental dimensions can actually be applied (in general terms) to all segments of society; from toddlers to seniors—after all, when we cease to develop emotionally and intellectually we may as well prepare for the Grim Reaper.

After reading the twelve dimensions as synthesized by the study it occurred to me that the dimensions we might value are relative depending upon the context.  While all or many of the dimensions can develop simultaneously, I asked myself several questions: first, which is my predominant phase now?  What about five years ago, ten, fifteen?  And which of the developmental dimension would I want to see in my own child, a close friend, an employee, or perhaps even a boss? 

Hopefully you’ll find the exercise as interesting as I did—here are the dimensions.

  1. Knowledge, learning and mastery of general principles: Gaining knowledge and mastering facts, ideas, and theories and how they interrelate, and the relevant contexts in knowledge is developed and applied.
  2. Continuous learning, intellectual interest and curiosity:  Having a high degree of intellectual interest and curiosity.  Actively seeking new ideas and new skills, both in core study areas and in peripheral or novel areas.
  3. Artistic cultural appreciation and curiosity: Appreciating art and culture, either at an expert level or simply at the level of one who is interested.
  4. Multicultural tolerance and appreciation:  Having a high degree of multicultural tolerance.  Showing openness, tolerance and an interest in the diversity of individuals by culture, ethnicity or gender.  Actively participating in, contributing to, and influencing a multi-cultural environment.  (An interesting sidebar is that while more and more employers are pushing for increased diversification of the workforce they gave this dimension a low degree of importance.  The colleges and universities rated this dimension highly.)

 

  1. Leadership skills.  Having the ability to motivate others, coordinate groups and tasks, serving to act as a representative for a group or performing a management role within the group.
  2. Interpersonal skills.  Communicating and dealing well with others, whether in informal social situations or more formal school or work related situations.  Being aware of the social dynamics of a situation and responding appropriately.
  3. Social responsibility, citizenship and involvement.  Being responsible to society and the community and demonstrating good citizenship.  Being actively involved in the events in one’s own surrounding community, at the neighborhood, town/city, state, or national level.  Activities may include volunteer work, attending city council meetings and voting.
  4. Physical and psychological health.  The ability to maintain physical and psychological health.  Possessing the physical and psychological health required to engage actively in scholastic or work-related environment.  This includes participating in healthy behaviors, such as eating properly, exercising regularly, and maintaining healthy personal and academic relations with others as well as avoiding unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol/drug abuse, unprotected sex, and ineffective or counterproductive coping behaviors.
  5. Career orientation.  Having a clear sense of the career one aspires to enter.  This may happen before entering college or at any time while in college, and includes establishing, prioritizing and following general specific career-related goals.
  6. Adaptability and life skills.  Adapting to a changing environment (at work or school or at home) dealing well with gradual or sudden and expected or unexpected changes.  Being effective in planning one’s everyday activities and dealing with problems and challenges in life.

 

  1. Perseverance.  Committing oneself to goals and priorities, set regardless of difficulties that stand in the way.  Goals range from short term (showing up for work/class everyday when you really don’t want to go) to long-term goals.
  2. Ethics and integrity.  Having a well-developed set of values and behaving in ways consistent with those values (behavior is the operative word.)  In everyday life, this means being honest, not cheating or deceiving under any circumstance including committed relationships, and having respect for others.

Obviously all of us hope that our loved ones are in some way or another engaged in the “Physical and psychological health” phase, but which of the other eleven dimensions would you also like to see embraced? 

Is the “Ethics & Integrity” phase the most important for a significant other or a close friend?  We might choose, “Continuous learning, intellectual interest and curiosity” for a child at a young age; but what about when that child is grown and out of the home?

Bosses present an interesting twist; do we hope they too are in the “Health” phase of development or perhaps the opposite?  What if I’m the boss, would I prefer that my employees are in the “multicultural tolerance & appreciation” or the “adaptability and life skills” phase?

All in all, what we want from others at any given point in time can tell us a lot about our own value systems.

 

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